natural sunburn relief

Natural Sunburn Relief: Cooling Sunburn Cubes

These skin-soothing cubes are perfect to stash in your freezer and pull out as needed to quickly relieve mild sunburn and other minor skin irritations such as razor burn, scrapes, and itchy insect bites. Easy to make at home, this natural sunburn relief remedy features the following herbal ingredients:

natural sunburn relief

Plantain Leaf (Plantago major, P. lanceolata)

Plantain is a bountiful backyard weed that’s useful for general first-aid situations. In this recipe, plantain is added for its ability to improve various skin irritations.

natural sunburn relief

Violet Leaf (Viola odorata, V. sororia)

Violets are pretty purple flowers that pop up in early spring. The leaves are cooling and help soothe the heat of mild sunburn.

natural sunburn relief

Aloe Vera Gel (Aloe barbadensis)

Aloe is a classic remedy for sunburn, as it’s highly effective at relieving the discomfort caused by too much time spent in the sun. You can use bottled aloe or gel harvested from your own plants in this recipe.

natural sunburn relief

Witch Hazel Extract (Hamamelis virginiana)

Witch hazel is anti-inflammatory and cools inflamed tissues.1 In this recipe, witch hazel replaces part of the water so the cubes leave behind a cooling sensation on your skin.

Cooling Sunburn Cubes

Recipe from The Big Book of Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health & Home by Jan Berry (Page Street Publishing, 2020).

What you’ll need…

  • 1/4 cup (3 g) chopped fresh plantain leaves
  • 1/4 cup (3 g) chopped fresh violet leaves
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) witch hazel extract
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh or bottled aloe vera gel
  1. Place the fresh plantain and violet leaves, witch hazel, and water in a blender.
  2. Mix thoroughly until you create a thin plant juice or slurry.
  3. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a clean jar.
  4. Rinse the blender briefly with water to remove any stray bits of herb. Pour the strained plant juice back into the blender. Add the aloe and mix well.
  5. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze until solid.
  6. Store the frozen cubes in airtight containers or bags in your freezer until needed, or for 6 to 9 months.

Yield: 7 to 8 cubes

To Use This Natural Sunburn Relief

Remove a cube from the freezer and gently rub over sunburned or irritated skin. You can leave the herbal mixture on your skin, allowing it to air-dry, or you may wish to rinse it off with cool or tepid water. In addition to natural sunburn relief, you can use these cubes for other minor skin irritations such as razor burn, scrapes, and itchy insect bites.

Show 1 footnote

  1. Richo Cech and Sena Cech, Making Plant Medicine (Williams, OR: Herbal Reads LLC, 2016).

Which herbs & remedies should you always stock in your kitchen?

13 comments
  1. This looks like a very nice recipe, however burns should never, ever be iced. Plenty of medical advice against doing such a thing, please be careful recommending that.

    • I agree! The ice in the recipe seems like it could be used for bug bites, but for a minor burn, perhaps modify the recipe to melt the ice cube in a dish and dab the cool liquid onto the burn.

    • Ice is exactly what you do for a burn. If your skin is still burning, the damage is still being done. If you take ibuprofen, it may relieve the sensation (a bit) but the actual burning is still going on.
      When you are badly burnt, an ER will immerse you in an ice bath!

      • This is incorrect, please refer to a medical authority for accurate info. It truly is dangerous to ice burnt son.

  2. That would be amazing for a hot bug bite or sting!

  3. Would this recipe work with dried plantain and violet?

    • This recipe is meant for fresh plants. I would experiment with reconstituting the dried herbs in the witch hazel and water for awhile at the beginning of the recipe. When using dried herbs, use half as much as fresh. Have fun and let us know how it goes!

  4. I am allergic to plaintain. Is there an alternative plant that can be used in place of it?

    • If you can use calendula, that is a good substitute for plantain for skin issues. Enjoy!

  5. Jan’s recipe works for me, because the ingredients are easy to gather safely on my property. I worry that the plastic/silicone in my ice cube trays is counterproductive to the medicinal properties of the herbs.

    Have you any experience with 18/8 stainless steel ice cube maker/trays? They typically are made in China, which is concerning regarding gaps in quality across manufacturers.

    • Marje, I thought i was the only one concerned about silicone, etc. Thank you for your comment…hope to hear some advice on these things. :)

    • Silicone is probably least of the evils. I wouldn’t use the metal trays either.

  6. I have been using silicone in soap molds, baking dishes and freezing broths in large silicone cube trays. what is the concern about silicone today? Checking with chefs in the past, they were touting the benefits of silicone in baking. I will be digging deeper to find out the downside of silicone.

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